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Valley People (August 16, 2023)

AV FIRE on the local haze/smoke: Where's the smoke coming from? According to fires in Alaska, Canada, Oregon, and the Southwest are contributing to smoky skies all across North America. We've had a few concerned calls from the Yorkville area, and the Aerial CoOp Patrol went out there for a look. Fortunately, all they saw was drift smoke.

FROM A RECENT edition of the ICO: “Spirituality Theme of Church Services,” and what’ll they think of next?

103 IN THE SHADE at my place here in Boonville at 3pm Sunday. Even the blue jays lined up at the smorgasbord they’ve commandeered simply perch without eating, gasping for air. Cloverdale, the PD says, was 113. The pattern is usually two very hot days then the fog blankets the Coast, the sea breezes waft up the Valley, and we congratulate ourselves for having had the good sense to live in a place with a perfect climate.

HIKING a stretch of Anderson Creek the other day, I was encouraged at how successful the efforts of several creek-side landowners to shore up the stream’s battered banks have been.

TWO ONGOING arguments of no relevance and less consequence rage here at the AVA. One: Home-schooled children are, for the most part, much better behaved than the prevailing sugar-fueled, phone-addicted, television-raised model, and Two: Are Mendocino County’s business leaders of the Private Industry Council and the Mendocino County Employer’s Council (mostly the same dreary cast of characters) more in the tradition of Babbitt? Or more in the tradition of Snopes’? I think home-school children tend to be less neurotic, much more civilized around adults. The argument typically breaks down into case studies of the, “That little monster? Are you kidding?” As for Babbitt versus Snopes, the consensus here is for Snopes, the argument being that George F, in his way, cared what Zenith looked like because, he reasoned, the way the princes of small town commerce used to reason, civic beauty was good for business. Faulkner’s Snopes are a bunch of low-down, grasping, even murderous thieves and, therefore, the literary forebearers of the kind of people who dominate commerce in Mendocino County and too many of the smaller communities of the United States these ominous days.


The 47th annual Great Day in Elk will be held on Saturday, August 26, from noon until dusk. The noontime parade will travel through downtown Elk to the Greenwood Community Center for the day’s festivities. 

All afternoon there will be game booths with prizes and do-it-yourself crafts projects for children, plus a greased pole with a $100 bill at the top. Watermelon-eating contests, sack races, and an egg toss will be held throughout the day. 

This year’s live entertainment features music by BoonFire, beats by DJ Nutrishious, and belly dancing. There will also be a silent auction, a cake auction and a raffle. 

Lunch options include tamales and Caesar salad (with or without chicken), hot dogs and focaccia with Moroccan lentil soup, and the Civic Club’s ice cream sundaes topped with fresh berry sauce. Drinks include fresh-pressed Greenwood Ridge apple cider, Elk’s famous margaritas, soft drinks, beer and wine. 

Dinner will be served from 4 to 7. Choices are marinated chicken with arugula or summer squash risotto, served with caprese salad and garlic bread. 

So, come to the little coastal village of Elk and enjoy a fun-filled family day, while supporting the Greenwood Community Center, five miles south of Highway 128 on Highway 1.Please leave dogs at home. 

For more information email Mea Bloyd at or visit the Elk community website: 


We present the General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays. So hopefully you will be at Lauren's at The Buckhorn on Thursday, August 17th starting at 7pm. Cheers, Steve Sparks, The Quizmaster

ROBBIE LANE: Looking for a local martial arts instructor who would be interested in teaching a weekly club at the high school. We have a budget that will allow for us to compensate financially. The club would meet during the After School Program, between 3:00 and 5:30 pm. Exact schedule would be up to you.

SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: Project on Cameron & Philo Greenwood roads is being done in with several operational phases at $150-170k/mile, last of which is a double chip seal. None of the road has been double chip sealed yet, so nobody has reviewed the finished product. Insufficient revenue for new asphalt.


This is our country store in Boonville. It is in the Farrer Building which, with its café, “Mosswood Café” is the center of town in some respects.

Visitors and their husbands love to browse here. We are not Healdsburg, but you will have to admit that their inventory is special.

FOOD DESERT? A reader wonders: 

Finding food on the coast between 2 and 5 is a real challenge. We just don't bother anymore because everything is closed. There's no need for customers to be rude about it but the phenomenon of closing the restaurants every afternoon is pretty unique to the area and I get that it's upsetting for hungry people to be turned away especially as there is clearly a need to be serving during those hours.


Velma's Farm Stand at Filigreen Farm open Friday 2-5pm and Saturday 11am-4pm

Brock Farms Farm stand is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10-6, closed Sunday and Monday.

Petit Teton Farm is open daily 9-5, except Sunday 12-5. 

LEMONS MARKET, Philo's anchor and a great little store featuring fresh fish caught by the Lemons boys and brought directly to the store, and how many communities can boast that rare amenity? So, great family, great people to work for looking for a couple of new clerks, the long-time ladies having retired to babysit the grandkids.

“BE AWESOME TODAY,” read the bumpersticker, reminding me that I'm for fair play for superlatives — that “awesome” should be reserved for the truly awesome like Niner's running backs Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuels, not just promiscuously applied to everything from cheeseburgers to substitutes for “thank you.” Besides which the obvious insincerity of a person who'd advertise their good wishes for their fellow creatures on a bumpersticker is one more vulgar instance of virtue signaling.

LOCAL PHOTOG JEFF GOLL: The Perseid meteor shower didn't pan out as the quick mainstream media suggested. Just before going out, I checked the NASA website and the national map showed that the edge of California (San Francisco to Oregon border) was in the “poor viewing” zone. Out on Route 20 West of Willits there were plenty of stars but few meteors. It's difficult to capture meteors, the best ones are spectacular interruptions. Good Alexander Cockburn “Back to Main Street” and the second photo shows what I found on Main Street in Mendocino. Even tourists nowadays need a good shiv.

ONE MORNING a guy goes down to get his newspaper. Guy sees a snail near his paper. Guy hates snails. He picks up the snail and throws it as far as he can into a nearby forest. A year passes. One day there’s a faint knock on the door. The guy looks out and sees a snail. The snail looks up at him and says: “So what the hell was that all about?”


I never get tired of this view of Tarwater/Octopus Hill. It’s always the beacon welcoming me home after a long trip.

One Comment

  1. Donald Cruser August 16, 2023

    A few words on home schooled students. Most of them entered into Mendocino High School when it was time for Chemistry, Physics, and higher level math courses. I thoroughly enjoyed these students since they were smart and motivated. Their common characteristic was that they were free from the influence of the peer group and were comfortable relating to adults. These were the kids who would stick around after class to talk to me personally.
    I am not sure that home schooling is the primary factor here though. A much more important ingredient is the family involvement and the value the family places on education. This is most obvious in cultural differences. A few years back the University of California had to change its admission standards to keep UC Berkeley from becoming all Asian. In Asian culture education is highly valued. The same can be said about Jewish families where the expectations on children are set high. The number of Jewish Nobel prize winners in the sciences is way out of proportion to their population numbers. The Germans start their career counseling with students in elementary school. It was only a few years back that China displaced Germany as the word’s largest exporter of goods and the Germans do it with 80 million people. When I ask my wife’s family what is the secret to the German economy, they all have the same answer: “Precision German engineering”. (The German’s also have a law that requires half of corporate boards to be line workers. They don’t vote to send their own job overseas. The CEO’s in Germany make about 40 times what a line worker makes, while here in the USA they make well over 300 times what a line worker makes. Here the CEO’s sit on each other’s boards where they grant each other exorbitant bonuses and preoccupy themselves with looking for cheap labor any where in the world they can find it. The United States is the largest importer of goods in the world. It is worth comparing elected leaders. Angela Merkle had a PHD in chemistry and spoke English better than 3 of our last 4 presidents.)
    Sorry about the diversion, but it is easy to see how the German educational system is paying off for them. Back to education. It is also easy to see why lower economic status can have a negative impact on a child’s education since it limits since it limits parent involvement. The current move to the public schools providing early childhood education will be a real equalizer.
    One of the things we did at Mendocino High School that helped encourage parent involvement was shortly before the start of the school year we would have “Arena Registration”. It would happen in the gym where each teacher had a table to meet with each of their advisees and their parents to work out the class schedule for the year. It gave me an opportunity to meet a lot of parents face-to-face. The message was clear: We are all here working together to educate students.

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